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South Korea's January factory output sets worst fall in 6 years

[SEOUL] South Korea's industrial output in January dropped by its fastest clip in six years over December, data showed on Monday, far missing expectations and highlighting a shaky recovery of Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Factory output in January fell 3.7 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms from December, the Statistics Korea data showed, while the December reading was revised up to a 3.4 per cent gain from a preliminary 3.0 per cent rise reported earlier.

The output in January fell by the worst monthly pace since a 10.5 per cent drop in December 2008.

The median forecast from a Reuters survey of analysts had tipped the factory output to fall 0.1 per cent in January after adjustments for seasonal effects.

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In annual terms, output rose 1.8 per cent in January following a revised 1.1 per cent gain in December, compared with a 0.4 per cent rise tipped in the same Reuters survey.

Service-sector output in January slipped by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent from the previous month, following a revised 0.2 per cent gain in December.